Esther Shalev-Gerz at Wasserman Projects @ Hyperallergic
DETROIT — “In Detroit, you can do things — and you must do things — that are different than anywhere else,” said Gary Wasserman, the founder of Wasserman Projects, one of Detroit’s newest galleries. He was addressing a full house at an artist talk for the current exhibition Space Between Time, a career survey of eight major artworks by Lithuanian-born and internationally based contemporary artist Esther Shalev-Gerz. Wasserman Projects spared no effort in the rearrangement of their typically wide-open floor plan, creating darkened zones for intimate encounters for some of Shalev-Gerz’s video works, and mirrored, museum-like display kiosks for delicate glass sculpture pieces, all of which strive to reinforce Wasserman’s vision for a Kunsthalle effect.
The extra effort greatly compliments Shalev-Gerz’s far-ranging and deeply searching practice, with the entire host of works over the course of her career created by commission from private collectors, tourism bureaus, museums, and public art funds — a support process that she characterized in her artist talk as “the oldest form of how an artist relates to society and society relates to an artist.” These commissions vary widely in media and subject, but they tend to be philosophical in nature, with Shalev-Gerz bringing a nuanced and surprising perspective in her examinations of museum collections, factory work, labor, and acts of remembrance.